Bon who? What’s Bonsai?
“The word “Bon-sai” (often misspelled as bonzai or banzai) is a Japanese term which, literally translated, means “planted in a container”. This art form is derived from an ancient Chinese horticultural practice, part of which was then redeveloped under the influence of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
It has been around for well over a thousand years. The ultimate goal of growing a Bonsai is to create a miniaturized but realistic representation of nature in the form of a tree. Bonsai are not genetically dwarfed plants, in fact, any tree species can be used to grow one.
In short, the definition of Bonsai can be explained as:
“Bon” [left character] is a dish or thin bowl (“a modified vessel which has been divided or cut down from a deeper form”).
“Sai” [right character] is a tree or other growing plant which is planted – “planted,” as would be a halberd or spear or pike stuck into the ground.
“Bonsai” thus means or denotes “a tree which is planted in a shallow container”.”
At the Museum
It was an amazing experience to see trees hundreds of years old and to have this art ably demonstrated by a Bonsai Master who had won many awards globally.
I also got to try out the wiring effect on a small tree – which lost a few leaves in the process and may never recover – but definitely showed this bonsai thingy was not as easy as it looked when the Master did it.
The shapes of the tree trunks became more and more intricate as they defied gravity yet flourished under the Master’s care.
Next up, what I did after I wired my tree
Upon arrival in Shinjuku one of the first things we did was to check out a restaurant or two for dinner. Imagine my surprise to see what appeared to be actual dishes, standing upright in some cases, invitingly displayed in several windows (complete with prices and what looked like descriptions)! Then I realised it was very realistic looking dishes made out of moulds.
It was hard to choose but in the end, this is what I decided on having for dinner
During my trip to Shinjuku I had the pleasure of staying at the Hilton Tokyo hotel. My room was amazing and I am truly sorry the photos do not do it justice (apologies for the pics that are out of focus but this is why you can click on the link above).
The view wasn’t all that great from room 1117 but I honestly wasn’t there long enough to ever notice. I can tell you however that Japan is definitely the land of the rising sun, because when I went to bed one morning at 4:30 a.m. the sky was already lit up in bright brilliant shades of blue.
So it’s a weird subject but I have to tell you about the toilet which I found to be particularly novel: the seat is actually heated and you can be sprayed or watered – you choose
The service from the staff at the Hilton Tokyo was first class. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was too much for them. Loved their smiles and friendly greetings which made me feel like I was home away from home. In other words: niceness!